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IUMA: Aruna

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Born and raised in the small, suburban town of Flemington, NJ, Aruna's penchant for music became apparent at a very young age, and as her studies continued into her teens, she began to seek out top-notch instructors such as world-renowned session musicians David Rosenthal and Anne Ruckert, who have worked with such luminaries as Billy Joel, Aretha Franklin, Sting, and Quincy Jones. These relationships ultimately led to her first professional gigs, some of which have included performances at Lincoln Center, backing Dianne Schuur at Hudson Theater, and the singing of the national anthem at Shea Stadium.

At 17, she moved to Boston to study jazz piano at Berklee College of Music. After two years, however, she temporarily left, relocating to Miami after having been offered an opportunity to sing and play keyboards with Roadrunner recording artists CYNIC. Between band rehearsals and studio sessions, she sought her livelihood playing and singing four nights a week in piano bars in Fort Lauderdale and Coconut Grove, in addition to working as an intern at Deston Entertainment alongside legendary songwriter Desmond Child. She later began part time work as a model, appearing in the feature film The Birdcage with Robin Williams, the TV movie Pronto with Peter Falk, and being selected to compete in the 15th annual Beauty on the Beach Miss Miami Beach Beauty Pageant. All of these experiences coupled with the aesthetically rejuvenating environment of South Florida eventually led Aruna to discover her true calling: singing, writing and performing.

She returned to Berklee in 1996 and began relentless work honing these skills: cranking out a song a week, performing regularly at Boston's premier dueling piano bar, Jake Ivory's, and eventually landing her first European tour with TVT/EMI recording artist Spookey Ruben. She later won both of the college's annual songwriting contests, Songwriters Competition 1997 and Performer/Songwriter Showcase Competition 1998.

Since graduating Magna Cum Laude in 1999, Aruna has been a steady fixture in Boston's live music landscape, having recently been selected by Capitol Records execs to open up for the Girls Room Tour featuring Capitol recording artists Tara MacLean, Amy Correia, and Shannon McNally . Her music, which consistently charts in the top 1% of all downloads at, has been featured in TV shows such as "Good vs. Evil" on USA Network and currently receives between 50 and 150 plays daily at retail establishments throughout the country. Aruna was recently selected as a national finalist in the 2000 Independent Music Awards in addition to receiving Honorable Mention in the NCSA 2000 Songwriting Competition.


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